Business groups called on the Obama administration Tuesday to delay new regulations aimed at curbing smog nationwide, arguing that manufacturers cannot afford to install new pollution controls given the sluggish economy.
By the end of the month, the Environmental Protection Agency will finalize rules setting more-stringent air quality standards for counties across the nation, replacing ones set under the George W. Bush administration.
Ground-level ozone — also known as smog — is formed when emissions from power plants, other industrial facilities, vehicles and landfills react in the sunlight. Smog can cause or aggravate health problems such as asthma and heart disease, and it has been linked to premature death.
On Tuesday, several major trade associations held a joint conference call with reporters to suggest that the EPA postpone the new standards until 2013. The public appeal highlighted the political stakes. Many of the counties most likely to be affected by the new standards are in manufacturing states that could prove critical in next year’s presidential election.